Faux news? Fox News apologizes for using misleading photos of NFL players kneeling
Trump tweeted on Monday that the event had been canceled due to the fact that only a few of the Eagles’ players wanted to attend. He also proclaimed that “staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling.”
The same night, Fox News tweeted out a now deleted news bulletin featuring a montage of Eagles players kneeling. The players were not kneeling in protest, however, but in prayer, a mistake that was noticed straight away by Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.
This can’t be serious.... Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad, I feel like you guys should have to be better than this... https://t.co/kYeyH2zXdK— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) June 5, 2018
Others weighed in to blast Fox News and Trump for racism and “propaganda.”
Fox News is trying to pass off B-roll footage of Eagles players praying as them kneeling in protest. It really doesn’t matter what you do if you don’t have the right skin color.— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) June 5, 2018
Today Fox News used a picture of Philadelphia Eagle Zac Ertz, kneeling *in prayer*, during their coverage of the botched White House visit. Sorry but that is some straight propaganda. You are dismissed.— The Jim Riley (@SpartaDTD) June 5, 2018
Fox News later apologized for the misleading photos on Tuesday.
“During our report about President Trump cancelling the Philadelphia Eagles trip to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl win, we showed unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer,” read the statement from Fox executive producer Christopher Wallace.
None of the Philadelphia Eagles players took a knee for the national anthem during the 2017 season. However, many on the team have been outspoken in support of the protests and against Trump. Only 10 players reportedly planned on attending the White House event in the first place, with the rest turning down the president’s invitation in protest.
Former Eagles receiver Torrey Smith claimed that his teammates refused to go, not just because of the anthem issue, but as a wider protest against Trump’s policies. “The majority of people don’t want to see you,” he tweeted, addressing Trump. “To make it about the anthem is foolish.”
There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go. It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) June 4, 2018
In a statement released on Monday, the Eagles thanked their fans for their support during the season without addressing the controversy regarding their visit to the White House.
Trump still plans to press on with a “different kind of ceremony” on Tuesday, “one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem,” according to a White House statement. The president will appear at the event along with the United States Marine Band and Army Chorus to “celebrate America.”
Torrey called Trump's statement an attempt “to spread the false narrative that players are anti military.”
After San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee in August 2016 in protest of alleged police brutality and racial injustice in the US, Trump repeatedly criticized the league bosses for tolerating such displays, which he dubbed as unpatriotic, calling on fans to boycott games and teams to fine kneeling players.
If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Trump’s comments, in turn, spawned further protests, but the NFL’s owners voted last month to implement a new policy that requires players to stand during the anthem next season or face a fine. Dissenting players can remain in the locker room if they wish.
Trump said that the NFL’s new policy was “the right thing,” but added that players who refuse to respect the anthem perhaps “shouldn’t be in the country.”
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